Say what you will about the Cardinals, but they know how to handle PR. Postseason stud and cult hero needs to go to rehab for substance abuse? Hey, bring up Ankiel! A happy story to drown out the ugly one. And it absolutely worked.

The problem of course: Scott Spiezio โ€” an Illini grad, by the way โ€” really does have a drug problem, and he's in a lot of trouble.

Spiezio's problems apparently came to a head Monday night when he received intravenous fluid during and shortly after the team's series opener against the San Diego Padres. Exhibiting an elevated heart rate and sweating profusely, Spiezio also was noticeably irritated and anxious, according to a person familiar with the situation.

When it was suggested that he be hospitalized and undergo blood testing, Spiezio abruptly disconnected the IV and left the stadium, sources confirmed. On Tuesday Spiezio apparently approached the club for assistance and was put in contact with a representative from the organization's Employee Assistance Program. At that point arrangements were made to find treatment for the player.

We're not sure the substances that might cause Spiezio to act in such a fashion โ€” we have a few ideas โ€” but it's not every day that one of your most popular players leaves the team because he's addicted to drugs, and hardly anybody notices. Well done, Cards PR.

Spiezio To Seek Treatment [St. Louis Post Dispatch]